With long-haul flights, a distant memory and passports gathering dust road trips and city stays are how we now get away from the everyday. All capital cities have polished the good silver and put out the open sign. Sydney is bursting with new precincts, Broadway shows, festivals and blockbuster exhibitions.
CBD hotels, ritzy restaurants and sightseeing mean an Emerald City holistay isn’t cheap. Invest instead in an Opal Card and head to North Sydney. Take in the world’s best views when you cross the harbour by ferry, train or bus and stay at Quest North Sydney for a millionaire long weekend without credit card stress.
Quest North Sydney
Quest North Sydney is boutique in size and attitude. Small and stylish with just 100 rooms, studios and suites. A stroll to the world’s most breathtaking harbour. The Sydney CBD is minutes via train or ferry. Add to that an onsite cafe – Lost & Found – that locals love.
With 99 other guest rooms, studios and suites it’s surprising how quiet this Miller Street hotel is. Quest North Sydney wears its business hat during the work week but come Friday afternoon the staycationers arrive.
Rooms and Suites
Our 35 sqm Executive Studio’s apartment combines practicality with comfort. The neutral grey is spiced with earthy ochre and a splash of pink. The palette soothes rather than sedates with sharp lines and clever lighting. A King Quest Signature bed by Sealy is dressed in crisp white. The double mirrored robe hides a safe, suitcases and is finished with wooden hangers that actually work.
The open plan features a kitchenette, bar fridge, cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, kettle and Nespresso machine. Like all Quest Apartments, the cupboards are well stocked with glassware and everything you need if its your turn to cook.
Above the long, slim work desk is a Smart TV across from a cosy corner spot for coffee or dining in. Bonus points for apartment-controlled heating/air conditioning.
For a studio apartment, the bathroom storage is epic. Most five-star digs leave you with a few centimetres of bench space but not at Quest North Sydney. Mirrored cabinets and below sink cupboards are exceptional but for longer stays floor to ceiling storage makes life easy. One-bedroom apartments also sport washing machines and dryers.
While busy with staycationers it’s surprising how the hallways, elevators – in fact, the entire building is noise-free.
Guests can also access the expansive ground floor in-house gym, sauna and steam rooms.
Go old-school and pick up a paper map from smiling Adam at reception for more on what’s nearby.
The historic Rag & Famish and North Sydney Hotel are a short amble dfor old school pub vibes and good eats.
Lost & Found
Breezy weekends begin with breakfast or brunch downstairs at Lost & Found. Surround yourself in a greenhouse complete with fountain and chandeliers for a very zen start to the day.
As hotel cafes go this was the most pleasant of surprises. The staff were friendly and low-key and the food was outstanding. If you need help with the menu, the most popular dishes aren’t starred but flowered.
Breakfast features the usual suspects but with an altogether different take. Charcoal and sourdough toast accompany everything eggy like The Big Deal. (‘Best poached eggs ever’).
But if you’re looking for a lighter start, the Neverbowl is a plate of perfection. Japanese granola is adorned with seasonal fruits – (berries and grapes), coconut flakes, almonds, honey yogurt and a random pink marshmallow duo. Grammable, but more importantly absolutely delicious.
And don’t forget the coffee – in-house or on the go.
Locals brunch on tables that spill outside in the morning sun. And four-legged friends aren’t just welcome; they have their own menu!
Stroll down to the magical world of Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. Below North Sydney and perched above the postcard-perfect harbour this garden is pure zen. Bliss out on pure oxygen, be dazzled at Sydney’s best view and wonder how this could all be here just moments from North Sydney’s towers.
Keep moving towards McMahons Point and catch a ferry to Sydney’s newest restaurant and entertainment precinct – Barangaroo. The unmistakably Sydney sandstone paths wind around the western side of the harbour. Barangaroo is home to the unmistakable blue juggernaut, Crown Towers Sydney.
Explore the spectacular Barangaroo with a 360˚ panorama (Click and hold anywhere on image and scroll)
Northside Produce Markets
Every month, on the first and third Saturday North Sydney Community Centre, hosts the Northside Produce Market. Undoubtedly, one of Australia’s finest farmers markets, producers and farmers travel from across NSW to hawk their delicious wares.
We took the free ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour that is held quarterly to mark the change in seasons. Cordon Bleu-trained chef, consultant and farmer’s advocate Tawnya Bahr introduces us to some of the farmers and producers that make this market such a winner. Tawnya’s Straight to the Source regional tours sees her connect farmers with city chefs.
During the tour, we sampled Riverina jujubes (dried red Chinese dates), dried sugar plums, yuzu, fresh unfiltered olive oil, ricotta fritters, just-picked organic greens, apples and some of Sydney’s most swoon-worthy cakes and brownies. (More coming soon on the Northside Produce Market).
A little further …
Make a point to get to the all-new Australian Museum. After a $57m refurbishment, The Australian Museum has emerged as one of Sydney’s unmissable attractions. Be mesmerised by the scientific breakthroughs and natural wonders across the vast museum.
Admission is free for a day of curiosities, dinosaurs, scientific breakthroughs and treasures all in one sandstone, convict hewn wonder. Don’t miss the Westpac 200 Treasures of the Australian Museum in a now magnificently restored gallery.
Bayala Nura: Yarning Country and Garrigarrang explore and celebrate the world’s oldest living culture on land and sea. On May 22, the postponed blockbuster exhibition Unsettled opens. It’s a First Nations peoples response to the ongoing legacy of colonisation and will dismantle the history book version of Australia’s white settlement.